I hope I can finish this e-mail as the electric company has shut off our power and I don’t know how much battery life
I have left in this notebook computer.

Anyway, we are in a cotton-pickin fix and I don’t think it is all your fault (but Mendy does).  

Our problems started when you established our tree as a cotton wood tree.  As you know, based on the book “A Golden
Guide to 143 Species of Familiar American Trees” we thought we had a Tuliptree.   

Once you made your opinion known as to the type of tree we had, I was convinced but Mendy wasn’t.  She went out and clipped a leaf
and plucked a bud (she called it a bud but of course we know it was a boll).  She then laid both next to the picture in the book and stated
that you were wrong.  I asked her who she was gonna believe, Herbert S. Sim, Ph.D, Sc.D, and Alexander C. Martin, Ph.D, former Senior
Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or a slow-walkin, slow-talkin, Taxis dude who wears his ten-gallon hat swimming and his boots to bed. 
She immediately saw the logic of this & was thus also convinced that it was a cotton wood tree.  

Once Mendy was on board the cotton wood train, things kinda took off on their own.  I got on the web in an attempt to determine how 
much cotton we could expect from the tree.  It took some difficult trigonometry or psychology or something as everything I found on 
the web discussed yield per acre & I was trying to figure yield per height.  I finally determined that we could expect 1 ton of cotton from 
the tree.  Mendy, being (among other things) a graduate of Young Memorial Technical College in Morgan City, LA, reviewed and validated 
my conclusion.  

Naturally, we both had dollar signs rolling in our eyes and our only concern was whether the landlord would insist on a percentage.  We determined it was our cotton cause our pretend-step-brother-in-law had identified the tree.  We also decided to pick the cotton at night in case the landlord did not agree with our determination.  

Now that we knew we were soon to be standing in high cotton, we needed to determine how best to gain the most value from it.  We contacted the Nawlins Cotton Exchange and asked them to list our 1-ton of cotton on the futures market for July 1st.   The Exchange was pretty demanding.   

First, they wanted to know how we knew we would have 1 ton of cotton available on July 1st.  I explained the above information and once your name was mentioned, we had no more problems on that point.  

Then, they explained that if someone bought the cotton it was our job as the seller to deliver the cotton to the buyer.  We told the Exchange we would get back to them.  

Mendy & I discussed this delivery problem and came up with a great solution.  We used the money for our car insurance payment to go to the local auction house and buy 1,000 single ply garbage bags on a table deal.  Since it was a table deal, we had to take everything on the table along with the single ply garbage bags.  We now have 27 ceramic angels named Earnhardt holding Rebel flags that we can sell.  (An aside – Mendy forgot my bib so when I ate an auction-house juicy burger, I ruined another shirt.)  

Sorry Doug, the low battery warning is going off.  Mendy has agreed to take the computer to the neighbor’s house to get the battery charged.  Will try to finish this tomorrow but it won’t be early as tomorrow is our dumpster exploring day.  

Again, I don’t think our predicament is all your fault (but Mendy does).  

L&////Dead Battery\\\\  




I believe when I left off due to technical computer problems, I was discussing our business arrangement with the Nawlin’s Cotton Exchange concerning the cotton wood tree you identified in our front yard (the one we thought was a Tuliptree).   

We then notified the Exchange that we felt we had solved the delivery situation and explained our solution.   The Exchange noted the way the cotton was shipped was between the seller and buyer.  The Exchange was personally concerned about our not paying our car insurance and was professionally concerned about whether we could afford to pay for the shipping on a ton of cotton.  We assured the Exchange that the Post Office would take our personal check for the shipping.  (Mendy verified this.  She went to the Post Office and noticed they had 7 of our old personal checks thumb-tacked on the board next to their cash register -- it was obvious to us they took our personal checks.)   

The Exchange reminded us that we could only list “Ginned” cotton on its Futures Board.  I of course indicated we knew this as I looked at Mendy with a blank stare.  She didn’t know what they were talking about either so we put “Gin” into our web’s search engine.  We got 27,876,299 hits.  We knew it would take some time to review all these hits so we settled on alternating shifts of 4 hours on and 4 hours off.  I was for 8 on and 8 off but Mendy reminded me that we would have to take the computer next door every 4 hours to have the battery recharged.   

After 3 days of this, the neighbors volunteered an extension cord from their porch through our window to our computer.  We of course offered to pay part of their electric bill but they refused.  Their only condition was that Mendy quit knocking on their door every 4 hours and waking all their 12 kids (11 of which are under 1 year old).  

On the 6th day we found the link we were looking for.  It was a Cotton Gin we needed (who’da thunk?).  We located one on E-Bay.  The owner wanted extra money for it as the machine was certified to have been operated by Eli Whitney.  Once he agreed to take the amount of our past due electric payment as a down payment (we had stopped payment on the electric bill check when you identified our alleged Tuliptree as a Cotton Wood Tree thinking we may need some startup cash for our Cotton Pickin new business. When we stopped payment, I claimed their electricity wasn’t alternating properly.  At that time I remember telling Mendy, “Hey, it’s only the electric company.  Electric companies are happy if they get paid most of the time.”   I explained that our credit must be good cause we owed people all over the world so he also agreed to hold a check for the balance until Christmas.  We never did figure out why the Cotton Gin was worth more money just because the man that painted the famous picture of his mother sitting in a rocking chair had once operated it.  By the way, we requested a lifetime warranty on the Cotton Gin.  I e-mailed him a picture of me and he responded that the lifetime warranty was no problem, as it appeared I couldn’t live much longer anyway.  

The Gin showed up and it took us a little less than a week to set it in the front yard and get it operating correctly.  The landlord stopped by to collect the past due rent and asked whether it was a Cotton Gin and whether we were planning on harvesting the cotton from HIS cotton wood tree.  We explained that the machine was a mulcher and we threw some twigs and dandelion tops into it.   

Two days later a state zoning official appeared and asked whether we were aware of the state zoning ordinances.  I informed her that I was somewhat familiar with them and was certainly familiar with the one that stated no residence shall exist unless it is within easy walking distance of a church, preferably a Baptist church.  I pointed out that there were 6 churches within 2 blocks and that 5 of them were Baptist churches.    

She stated that that wasn’t the ordinance she was talking about.  She pointed out the ordinance that says you can have an RV on a lot or a Cotton Gin on a lot -- but not both.   We decided it was easier to move the RV than the Cotton Gin so we contacted the landlord and offered to rent the adjoining RV lot.  He stated that he still had our last rent check as we had failed to sign it.  We offered to pick that check up and write him another that would cover both lots.  He thanked us and we met him and exchanged checks.  Mendy was worried that the new check would bounce but I wasn’t, as I hadn’t signed it either.   

Doug, sorry gotta go.  A collection agent is pulling in the driveway and we gotta let the dogs out and close the curtains and lock the door.  

Once again, please remember that I don’t think our predicament is all your fault (but Mendy does).  


J (but not M)  




I am really sorry it is taking so long to get all this information to you.  I was just gonna send you a quick e-mail saying we are in a little bit of trouble, but I didn’t think it was all your fault.  Mendy insisted that everything be documented for some reason.  Have no idea why.  She also wanted to make sure we could prove that you were aware of all our problems (I am sending this return-receipt-requested to please her).  Again, I have no idea why.  

I think I should be able to wrap it all up with this e-mail.  I may not be able to as the oldest of the 12 neighbor kids (the one that is almost out of the diaper stage) just brought a note over from his mother.  The note accuses us of using their electricity to watch Regis & Kelley from 9 to 10 in the morning.  The note states that they volunteered an extension cord from their porch through our window to our computer only, not to our satellite and our TV.   

Mendy is going over to talk to the mother now.  Mendy wanted to know what to say so I told her, “Clinton-Speak!”  Mendy said, “Huh, what is Clinton-Speak?”  I said, “Just tell them we are never out of bed before noon so we couldn’t have used the extension cord they volunteered from their porch through our window to our computer to watch Regis & Kelley from 9 to 10 in the morning.  Don’t even hint that our satellite picks up the west coast edition of Regis & Kelley from noon to 1.  And, don’t worry if they mention the microwave.  I will move it into the shower and you can show them an empty microwave cabinet if necessary.”  

That covered, we have been patiently waiting for the cotton from the cotton bolls on the cotton wood tree that you identified that was misidentified as Tuliptree in the book “A Golden Guide to 143 Species of Familiar American Trees”.  As the bolls still hadn’t opened, we contacted our kids, Jimmy & Lisa for advice.  Both used to work in Mississippi and therefore must be cotton experts.  They explained that in Mississippi the cotton plants were sprayed to get the bolls to open.  We wanted to know “sprayed with what,” but neither knew.  (So much for living and working in Mississippi.  Hmmmph!)  

The only thing we owned in a spray can was Windex so we figured “what the hey”.  I grabbed the Windex and Mendy went looking for our ladder.  I had pawned the ladder yesterday to pay for my golfing tomorrow ($7.35 on Monday for +50, cart included).  Even a better deal if you play on days you know it is gonna rain and finish 18 & then hide in the woods till the rain starts and claim you only finished 9).  Since we didn’t have a ladder we agreed that one of us could stand on the other’s shoulders and thereby reach at least the lowest cotton bolls.  She reminded me that I was a gentleman by act of congress (I claimed that act was vetoed).  Up she went.  She spent several hours on my shoulders and we got many, many, cotton wood bolls Windexed.   

Since the next day was tomorrow, I prepared for my golf match.  While practicing my strokes in the front yard I noticed I was several inches shorter for some reason.  It musta been old age or something.  I was quite perplexed as I thought my legs were growing cause it has gotten harder and harder to bend over and reach all the way to my shoelaces.  Anyway, my golf clubs were too long for my new height so I decided I needed a new set of golf clubs.   

The next day, which as I previously stated was tomorrow, when we got to the pro-shop I began trying out the new clubs.  I picked out a set of ladies’ clubs that felt just right for my new height.  They were only $369.89.  I whipped out our Visa and handed it to the pro-shop clerk.  The clerk said it would be a few minutes as any amount over $10 had to have advance clearance from Visa.   I didn’t panic – I merely mentioned that I had changed my mind on the clubs.  I found a previously owned putter in the grab bag and used the Visa to purchase it (gottem and their advance confirmation).   By the way, one can score quite well with a putter when one learns to shoot around the water hazards rather than trying to shoot over them.  

Doug, Mendy just came in looking for the TV guide to show the neighbors.  She said I better shut it down as it looks like they are gonna pull the plug.   

I don’t want you feeling bad about the cotton pickin fix we are in (but Mendy does) and I will get back to you shortly (I hope).  




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